Learning from Failure

A quote that I have on my email signature.
A quote that I have on my email signature.

Have you ever had a time in your life, when you had a great idea that you are sure to work? Everything is set. You make the final preparations -ensuring all the i’s have been dotted and the t’s have been crossed. And then…BOOM! Everything turns out to be a complete failure.

Suddenly, you find yourself questioning yourself. Sometimes, you over-analyze the situation to a point of madness. You go over every variable and yet nothing seems to make sense.

Which brings me to my confession…

Well, there is no easy way to say this…

I honest to god, despise failing at anything.

Look I know that failure is a factor of life. “You have to lose, so you can win.” Yeah. Yeah. I have heard this line from everything such as movies to songs by Sir Elton John and Aerosmith respectively.

I can’t help but feel a sense of doubt once a project goes south or something I planned goes awry. I get very upset and tend to curse profusely at the notion of not getting the job done.

Call me a perfectionist, but seriously…who the heck wants to fail at something? Especially, when they know they could be damned good at it. (Okay, I’m not trying to sound all diva-ish.)

Okay. So take case in point. I am a tutor at a middle school and at the beginning of the semester I had the task, along with two others to make a book club.

Now, for a little back story. I had gotten the idea in my head that I was going to be purchasing books for my students throughout the course of the semester and that our boss would help fund this little club.

I was going to be new-age. So, I wanted to start a GoFundMe page, which through a couple of conversations was told that it wouldn’t be a good idea, because I would have to get clearance from the after school program. Once I got clearance to make the page, it was no way to tell if and when Lions of Literature would even be able to get the books/materials in time.

In short, the fund never happened and I was left with the task of trying to make copies of a book that students had no interest in. Before I knew it, the whole idea was scrapped. Then, I found myself for two months viewing movies. Coupled with the numbers of students began to dwindle. At times, I barely saw ten students in class.

I realized by late November/early December that the book club (in my view) had been a complete and total failure. I didn’t have the support that I needed and the materials required to make the experience fun for all involved.

So most days up until recently, I have kept my feelings bottled up. It didn’t make sense to me at all. I felt so worthless.

I couldn’t believe how things had turned out. What I thought the class was going to be, was not had it turned out.

As I sat down at my desk and thought about the last day of class…I was relieved that it was over. I thought about the mistakes that have been made and what I could have done differently.

Honestly, I don’t know how things would have turned out had everything worked out. All I knew at the time, it had to be better than what had it turned out to be.

As a result, I blamed myself. I mean, who else was there to blame? My two co workers, my boss, and countless other things that are too much to list?

No. I took the responsibility of the failure of the book club. Not because I wanted to be the matayr. I simply felt (and still do) that I should have threw caution to the wind and did my absolute best and made the Lions of Literature the best book club for middle schoolers there ever was.

However, I shouldn’t take this situation as something so terrible. But I should treat this as a learning experience. Although things didn’t work out, I can still use this as a lesson.

I could walk away with the idea that I didn’t fail. I won. The knowledge that I gained as a result of this failure, I will keep with me. I know what I should do and how to go about it.

And I am truly thankful for that.

~S~

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